Fan mail, feedback, ideas & opinions

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Photo of whitewater kayaker by Darin McQuoid. Skyler the Surf Dog photos by Nelly.

Photo of whitewater kayaker by Darin McQuoid. Skyler the Surf Dog photos by Nelly.

Letters to the Editor
In response to “A Surfer Girl” in ASJ #90

I read your editorial in ASJ yesterday. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that experience with your daughter. I know that she’ll  bounce back some day from it though! It’s just a temporary setback.

I just wanted to comment that I think that what you went through is unfortunately all too common. For some reason surfers in the water, old and young, have a very entitled attitude. There is no forgiveness or forbearance, or even sharing. This man that you got into a confrontation with could clearly have taking multiple different approaches. He could have:

— avoided the low-speed collision in the first place instead of choosing to remain on a collision course with a young girl.

— shrugged it off, smiled, and went on his way, perhaps understanding that he didn’t want to frighten a young girl.

— he could have spoken to you with a bit more humanity rather than demand an apology.

— in view that there was a child present, he could have just moved on his way rather than escalating the conflict, even when he thought he was in the right.

The above are some of the things that actual adults do in their daily life. Every minor conflict doesn’t have to be a fight. I don’t know why surfers who are old enough to know better carry on with their terrible attitudes. They really do know better, and set a terrible example for all the kids in the water. I’ve even seen this behavior from local celebrity surfers who are supposed to be pillars of the surfing community. It’s a facade as far as I’ve been able to tell. Sociopathic behavior is the norm and accepted. After 20 years of surfing in this area I’ve stopped surfing, and have no desire to even teach my kids to surf. It’s a beautiful sport, but just has way more negatives than positives at this point.

I just wanted to pass a little empathy and encouragement your way. I hope you and your daughter continue to have great adventures, and find your own path to some shared happiness in the water.

— Matt S.

I just read your letter in Adventure Sports Journal about your daughter and surfing.

My name is Jackie Nunez, the founder of the The Last Plastic Straw movement ( – a volunteer project for Save Our Shores. I am a traveler and former river guide and I am currently a kayak guide for Blue water Ventures in Santa Cruz.

I wanted to give you a couple of suggestions beyond our great Junior Guards program this summer. Another idea for summer ocean based camp experiences for your daughter in the future could be Blue Water Ventures “Extreme Marine” Camp.

Also, a great book for young girls is The Gutsy Girl. I think this book will entertain and empower your daughter, and help her navigate growing up in Santa Cruz and have some fun in the lineup. It is written by my talented and gutsy friends Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some more possibilities for your daughter.

— Jackie N.

It was a tough call to move away from Santa Cruz three years ago. But the expense, the attitudes in the water, and the fact that it costs way too much for the actual quality of life you get in return, made it a bit easier.

Sometimes I think the fact that I got back into surfing after taking a break from the attitude for about 15 years, had a lot to do with the ease of moving on from that town.
Too many people fighting for too little space at too high a cost.
It would be nice if the adults of SC began to act like adults, instead of teaching their kids to be jerks on down the line … but that attitude hasn’t changed since I first encountered it in the 80s. I don’t really think it ever will change.

There are many, many places to be close to nature, eat organic food, and be around nice people. If being in the ocean isn’t fun because of the people, why pay for access to it through high cost of living? Go to a cheaper place with warm water to surf for vacation, and spend the rest of your time being around nice people and NOT stressing about your ridiculous mortgage.
Dawn W.